With 16 starters returning, including 10 on the defense that ranked No. 1 in the Mid-American Conference and 30th in the nation a year ago, Sporting News has tabbed Northern Illinois as the No. 49 team in the country in its preseason Top 100 list.
Northern Illinois is the highest-rated Mid-American Conference team in the Sporting News’ preseason Top 100 and is listed ahead of 2010 non-conference foes Iowa State (No. 82), Illinois (No. 94) and Minnesota (No. 98). Three of NIU’s 2010 league opponents – Temple (No. 63), Central Michigan (No. 73) and Buffalo (No. 95) – earned a place in the Top 100, as did MAC East teams Bowling Green (No. 66), Ohio (No. 69) and Kent State (No. 87). The Huskies will not face those teams during the 2010 regular season.
Alabama and Ohio State are ranked as SN’s No. 1 and 2 teams, respectively, while the Huskies’ 2010 International Bowl opponent, the University of South Florida, is No. 52. To see the complete Sporting News preseason Top 100 list, click here. (http://www.sportingnews.com/ncaa_football/)
From now through Sept. 2, Sporting News will preview one top 100 team per day on the college football page of its website at www.sportingnews.com. In addition, NIU will be featured in the Sporting News Today, the digital online daily magazine, sometime in mid-July, 49 days before the start of the season.
Northern Illinois made its second straight bowl appearance in 2009 and finished the season 7-6 in Head Coach Jerry Kill’s second year at the helm. The Huskies open the 2010 campaign on Thursday, Sept. 2 at Iowa State before starting their 2010 home schedule Saturday, Sept. 11 versus North Dakota at Huskie Stadium.
Season tickets for all five of Northern Illinois 2010 home games are currently on sale through the NIU Athletics Ticket Office and online at www.NIUHuskies.com. NIU season football tickets are one of the region’s best values at just $85 for all five games. NIU faculty and staff, Varsity Club (former letterwinners), NIU Alumni Association members and senior citizens can purchase season tickets for only $74. The three-game mini-plan allows fans to choose any three 2010 games, including Homecoming, to get the same reserved seat for all three games for just $50.
Tickets can be ordered online at www.NIUHuskies.com (click the “Tickets” link on the top of the page), on the phone at 815-752-6800 or in person at the NIU Convocation Center Ticket Office in DeKalb.